Published on January 19th, 2016 | by Chuck75
Maximizing the Staples Software Deal for $100 Profit with Discover + Tax-Free
Staple Software Deal
We mentioned yesterday in the roundup post an idea from Miles Briefs to rack up some free Ultimate Rewards points by purchasing $400 worth of antivirus software and getting it all back in the form of a rebate. Basically, you can buy 10 of these downloadable software stuff for $400 and get $400 back in the form of a Visa prepaid card a few months down the road from Staples via Staples Easy Rebate. There is a limit 10 per household on the rebate.
No physical merchandise will be sent to you if you choose the downloadable version, saving you the hassle of having to deal with boxes and garbage – it’s just an email with a download link which you can ignore and still get the $400 back from the Staples Easy Rebate. And the rebate can be submitted online.
How it Stacks Up
To get a real deal here, we’re stacking a few different things:
- The credit card rewards – $400 at 5x per dollar with INK yields 2,000 points
- For online orders: 5% back from the portal ($20) or 6x United miles per dollar (2400 miles) – this should come through hopefully
- 2% – 5% back in Staples rewards, depending which tier you are at; for in-store purchases you can instead get 25% back in Staples rewards with a special coupon currently available
Looking at it strictly from a cash perspective, I take it as a profit of $32, using the online route:
- $20 from INK
- $20 from the portal
- Cost of $8 since that’s your opportunity cost when you use up the $400 Visa prepaid card in place of using a 2% card (these prepaid cards don’t seem to be unloadable with a PIN)
- Net: $32
Maximizing the Deal with Discover
The INK bonus points were considered a primary factor in this deal. Yet a better way to do this deal, in my opinion, is to use Staples gift cards instead of INK. It wouldn’t be worth it buying Staples gift cards on the exchanges, but you can buy Staples gift cards at 20% off using your Discover cashback. Most of us should have a high balance with Discover and using $320 in Discover cashback will yield $400 in Staples gift cards. The gift cards are issued instantly.
Discover only offers $25 denominations at the cost of $20. Staples has a max of 5 gift cards that can be applied per purchase. I bought three software for $120 and used five $25 gift cards. Then bought another 3 with another five gift cards. Then another 3 with another five gift cards. Then I bought one final $40 software and applied one $25 gift card and the $5 balances from the gift cards used previously. Perfect.
The new math is this:
- $80 profit via Discover
- $20 from the portal
- $8 opportunity cost
Nice! A $92 profit from your pajamas.
You can also try doing the 25% store rewards method stacked with the $80 Discover profit by going into a Staples store with the coupon and twelve $25 Staples gift cards. In-store would yield a fantastic return, but I stuck to the pj’s method, and I’ll be happy if the $92 profit comes through easily.
Save the Sales Tax with New Hampshire
Many pointed out that the sales tax kills the deal. After factoring in the tax, the profits go down a lot. However, if you choose the downloadable version of the software, you can simply have the item shipped to a location in New Hampshire and save the sales tax. Nothing is actually sent anyway, so it doesn’t make a difference where you have it shipped.
I googled a random hotel in New Hampshire and had it sent there. I didn’t have any moral issues with this – seems to make sense that you get to choose the shipping address – but I’m not a tax expert and can’t comment on the official rules for this.
Dealing with the Rebate
Pretty good deal overall. I usually don’t bother with software rebates since there are all kinds of rules that I don’t want to deal with. Also, you have to physically mail in the receipts and stuff – too much for me. However, in this case, it’s a Staples Easy Rebate which I’m very familiar with and is truly very easy to do – all online.
Note that in the comments on Frequentmiler it’s being reported that after submitting the rebate form from an online purchase, it doesn’t work automatically and requires manual input to push it through. If it’s not showing as processing, wait three days and have a chat with Staples to have them push it through.
I’ve never done this before, but it sounds like chat works easily to rectify the problem, and I relied on this method with the expectations that the rebate will come through.
Also, keep note of the zip code you had the downloads ‘shipped’ to in case you need it for the rebate.